Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stitches for Eli

It happened so fast! Eli was charging down the hallway into his brother's room, fell down to his knees and then BAM! he bashed his eyebrow into the edge of the toy train table. Ouch! He yelled, Tara came running, and the older three got to work. Levi ran and got a wet cloth for Tara to hold over Eli's gash, Isaac went to go get the phone, and Emma raced to get the paper with the doctor's after-hours phone number.

Tara called me at Anchor, asked me to come home so we could take Eli to the ER together, and then she called Karen to come over and watch the other three. I got home around 8:30pm, I hopped out of the car, hopped into the garage, and then hopped into the van. Eli was sitting in the back (in Levi's seat...) all smiles. His eyebrow looked nasty, but he seemed pleasant enough.

We hurried over to the Lutheran ER - they got us into a room fairly quickly. The ER doctor came in, quickly determined that Eli definitely needed stitches, and then the nurses got to work prepping Eli. They told us that normal procedure in this case was to sedate Eli with a drug normally used by vets on animals. It is supposedly kid friendly, except that it causes nightmares. As if Tara and I weren't already a little nervous. We wondered if the doctor couldn't just glue Eli's head together, like what was done for Levi. The doctor explained that he'd have to shave off the eyebrow in order to glue the wound shut, and there's a chance that the hair wouldn't grow back. He suggested we stick with regular stitches. He made his point.

Eli cried when he got the shot, but seemed to calm down quickly. He seemed to get really relaxed kind of quickly. I was impressed, until I realized that this animal drug was fast acting. Soon Eli is slumped down on the bed, drooling (another side-effect) and looking glassy-eyed. The nurse covers his head, the doctor settles down, and then he starts sewing. The nurse assisting him was kind of chatty, but she was nice and helped calm our nerves. Tara had a hard time watching the doctor sewing, I didn't mind it so much - it was kind of fascinating. But the closer I watched, the warmer the room became, and the more thankful I was for sitting down. The doctor got kind of chatty himself, in his own reserved, quiet way. I'm sure he's had to deal with freakish parents questioning his every move, hovering for a chance to sue him. Not us -we tried to encourage him, no need to make him worry. But then he broke the string, and it took the nurse forever to find a new one. And then Eli started to stir, and the doctor buckled down and finished the job just as Eli was getting ready to wake up.

By 10:30pm we were getting ready to walk out the door. Tara and Eli were in the lobby waiting for me to get van - or so I thought. When I pulled up to the lobby, they were no where to be seen. I waited...and got worried...and then went searching for them. The desk nurse saw me come in and told me that Eli had thrown up. Not good. They eventually had to put Eli back in his room. Because the wound was a head trauma, and it was followed up by nausea, they had to readmit him and make sure that it was nothing serious. They gave Eli a little bit of apple juice to drink - if he could keep it down for 30 minutes, we could leave. No luck. We get him cleaned up again, and they tell us to give him a bit more to drink, see if he can keep that down for thirty minutes. Like clockwork, at 12:30am, Eli gets sick again just as we were getting ready to put his coat on and leave.

So now they have to hook him up to an IV to get some fluids in his system and stop the nausea and make sure there is no dehydration. The new night nurse, Tim, tried to get the IV in Eli, but after two unsuccessful attempts, he thankfully gave up. So now we had to wait for the IV team to come down, and then after they came we could get the CT scan, and then hopefully go home. So we waited. And waited. And waited. We fell asleep in our chairs, our heads pressed against the bed rail. Finally, 2pm rolls around and so does the IV specialist. She gets to work and in no time has Eli hooked up. Naomi was working that night, and so she was able to stop by for a few minutes and check in on Eli. That was very nice of her.

Eli had been in a deep sleep when the IV specialist came in. Considering what he'd already been through, getting woke up in order to get a needle shoved in your arm was a good cause to get really cranky. Now that he's got a throbbing eyebrow, needleholes in both arms, an empty stomach, and very sleepy eyes, it's time to have him lay very, very, very still in the CT scanner. Real smart. Eli's screaming, I'm trying to soothe him, the nurse is trying to put the lead jacket on me, the other nurse is trying to keep the IV cords from getting ripped out, and Tara's trying to help get Eli calmed down. The magic formula for calming Eli down? The promise of strawberry flavored carbonated water, and a strobe-light toy that the CT nurse had on hand.

The scan revealed nothing bad, the doctor said we could go, and the nurse got Eli unhooked. By now it's 3am, and we're wondering why we had to wait almost two hours for Eli to get thirty minutes worth of IV fluid. Couldn't we have just done the CT scan while he was in a deep sleep? Why'd it take so long to get a twenty-two month old in the ER an IV? I'm not sure I want to see the bill for all of this.

3:31am. That's what time we pulled into the driveway. It had been a very long night. By 4am we were all in bed, hoping that the other kiddos would sleep in. Ha! I don't remember much about the morning - at some point Tara got up and took Emma to school. When I woke up at 9:30am Eli was in bed with me...we were both a bit groggy. What a night!


After the shift change, a nurse named Tim came and introduced himself to Eli. Which made him cry. So Nurse Tim brought back this cute little bear for Eli to hold. He didn't want it. At least not right away.

As Tara and I tried to pass the hours with Eli, I went and got some National Geographic magazines to look at; we spent alot of time looking at monkeys. Thank goodness Eli likes monkeys!

In the morning, Levi and Isaac wanted to see the stitches in Eli's brow. For Christmas they had received doctor coats that Naomi had made for them - so they put them on, grabbed their medical kits, and started giving Eli a check up. Too cute!

The morning-after look:

I think his eye looked worse the second morning, but he didn't seemed to be bothered by it too much!


UDntNo said...

Oh my Tim!! Glad to hear that he is on his way to recovering.
Kids + ER = Stress, Sadness, Fear, etc all balled into one emotion that I call "Total Fake Out" Can't let the little ones see ya sweat, and freak them out more than they already are, so you try to become "SuperParent to the rescue", when inside, you've completely lost it. Unfortunately, I have been there once too many.
The girls and I plan on coming back, it just seems one thing leads to another and a month or two has gone by and we still have not been there. I know that Jerica misses Alice a lot.

Take care,
Jill Fisher

~Jamie said...

What a night! Your kids are such troopers :)